Day 19: Springdale, NL to Gander, NL (In Search of Moose)

Suggested Listening: Hard to Find by the National


Total Distance Cycled: 2814km
Springdale, NL to Gander, NL: 188km

With our motel in Springdale leaving a lot desired and a very long day ahead of us we woke up at 5:40am to start getting ready. Since breakfast wasn’t included we each made a peanut butter banana wrap and used our last banana to make one to go. It was 6:45am when we got on our bikes and hit the road. Despite it only being 10 degrees outside and feeling freezing cold I was so pleased to get on the road this early. Getting on the bike this early proved to be very important since our progress (especially this morning) was slow today.
Riding in the cold weather when you’re tired/exhausted is a recipe for moving slow progress and it didn’t help at all that we seemed to run into a number of other issues. For starters the headwinds we had yesterday were back (though thankfully not quite as strong). We also had to stop to remove layers over the next few hours as the sun came out. On top of this we also had to stop twice to chat about some things since Shantel and I got into a disagreement and trying to have a conversation while riding isn’t particularly easy. I knew pretty early on in the day it was going to be a long one since we were moving slowly and had a lot of kilometers to cover. 
Around 1pm our hunger had grown to the point it couldn’t be satisfied any more by snacks from our bags. Since we were passing through Grand Windsor Falls it seemed only sensible that elwe eat. Despite A&W being a little further than some other options like Tim Hortons and Subway we opted to make the trip. Once there we ordered six beyond meat burgers (four to eat right now and two to take to go for later), one orders of fries, and the most satisfying root beer in their amazing frosted mugs. The staff at this location were on top of things and they did a great job of getting our order down and to us quickly. While in the A&W we had a few nice chats with some other customers. The first st lovely couple we chatted with were Lorraine and Lloyd Hunter. When they asked our trip I gave them a bunch of info about ride and our motivation behind fundraising for the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Lorraine shared that her mother had had Alzheimer so we was thrilled with what we were doing. She than gave $10 and said she would spread the word to folks she knew. Before departing Lloyd mentioned there was a good chance we’d see a moose today so we should stay alert. She also suggested a media person to reach out to which I did while we relaxed about after our meal. After chatting with Lorraine and Lloyd we ended up chatting a bit about our travels with a guy from the USA named Brad. If my memory serves me correctly he said his two children go to grad school in St. John’s and that they all taking a shirt trip together now. Not wanting to keep them from eating once their food came, I wrapped up the conversation and made one last bathroom stop before heading outside to get back on the bike.
After our hour long break at A&W we willed ourselves to get back on our bikes and to brace for the heat. It was now 30 degrees outside so to cool down I soaked my sun sleeves and headband. It helped initially, but like most other hot days they dried pretty quickly. Fortunately for pretty much the entire ride today (minus one 15km stretch towards the end of the ride) we had a pretty solid shoulder. The wide and well paved shoulder was especially appreciated today because we agreed today was the worst in terms of traffic since we began in Hamilton. While the last few days have had some frustrating close calls with logging trucks and transport trucks today things really sucked in this regard. Shantel even said she felt like her bike lifted off the ground when a transport truck passed too closely. I know there were a few occasions for me when I felt pushed and pulled quite drastically when being passed. Perhaps the most terrifying moment though was when a maniac who wanted to pass the cars in his lane starting speeding towards oncoming traffic in the lane immediately next to our shoulder and passed us. It was so awful and so irresponsible on his part. During it all I couldn’t help but also feel like I was playing “Where’s Waldo” with moose. Despite Lloyd’s warning and a number of signs we unfortunately did not see one. 
Finally around 8:30pm we arrived at our hotel and checked in. From there we ordered some vegetable stir fries from the attached restaurant and salad to share and made our way to our room to shower and stretch while the food was being made. After getting clean and devouring our food Shantel called her friend and worked on her photos while I wrote a bit about the day. It didn’t take long for us to feel ready for bed though so we around 11:00 pm we called it a night. 
Tomorrow we have 167km of what Shantel described as “hills for days” so we expect it to be a tough day. We will be heading to a little place called North West Brook just a bit outside Clarenville. 

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